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The most commonly performed task for forensic dentists in Norway is identification of deceased persons. Forensic dental identification of a victim is based on an objective comparison of the deceased’s dental status with collected dental information from a missing person. Until now, dental identification has been established mostly based on restorative treatment seen in the victim’s dentition compared with what has been registered in a missing person’s dental records. However, clinical dentistry has gone through a paradigm shift over the last 20 years with regard to the amount of operative dental treatment provided. This has led to significantly fewer dental restorations performed during the last decades. A consequence of this is that in the near future it may be more difficult to find concordant traits based on restorations, and forensic dentists must look for other dental traits that can contribute to establishing the identity of victims. One example of this can be dental anomalies. In most people, tooth development and eruption follow a certain structure. In some cases, however, anomalies occur, and these traits can be used to identify victims with few or no dental restorations. Dental implants used to replace lost or missing teeth, have become a common form of treatment, even among patients without other dental restorations. It may be possible to recognize the producer of the implant by studying and comparing X-ray images. If that information is also registered in the patient record, it can contribute to dental identification. In time, there is also a hope that dental implants will be marked with a specific ID number registered in a national register. Palatinate rugae are irregular, asymmetrical connective tissue folds in the hard palate. The pattern seems to be unique to each person – almost like a fingerprint. If the patient’s charts include a cast model or a scan of the palate, this structure may be used for dental identification.

Reference
Hvordan utføre rettsodontologisk identifisering av personer uten tannrestaureringer?
Kopperud SE, Kvaal SI
Aktuel Nordisk Odontologi 2022, Vol.47. Utg. 1; pp 164-179.
https://doi.org/10.18261/issn.2058-7538-2022-01-13